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WATCH: Can You Spot the Lies in These Ted Cruz Videos?

WATCH: Can You Spot the Lies in These Ted Cruz Videos?


The Republican presidential candidate and his supporters are spreading lies and half-truths about 'persecution' of antigay Christians.

Ted Cruz, trying to position himself as the presidential candidate of the religious right, is putting out a ton of lies and half-truths to claim Christians are being persecuted by LGBT-inclusive antidiscrimination laws.

The U.S. senator from Texas and Republican presidential hopeful held a so-called Rally for Religious Liberty in Des Moines Friday, the same day he was confronted by out actress Ellen Page at the Iowa State Fair about his opposition to LGBT rights. Before the rally, he gave an interview to Ed Berliner on Hard Line, a program carried by right-wing outlet Newsmax TV.

Discussing discrimination lawsuits and penalties for business owners who refuse to provide goods or services for same-sex weddings, Cruz told Berliner, "An analogy I used with Miss Page today as we were flipping pork chops, I said, listen, imagine if this were inverted. Imagine if there were a gay florist -- I know that's hard to imagine, a gay florist, just go with the hypo for a second [here Berliner chuckles] -- imagine if two evangelical Christians came to a gay florist and they wanted to get married, and the florist said, you know what, I disagree with your faith, I have problems with your faith. You have no entitlement to force that gay florist to provide flowers at the Christians' wedding."

Of course, there is an entitlement, as businesses that serve the public are barred by federal and state law from discriminating against customers based on their religion. And one would be hard-pressed to find a gay florist who has turned away evangelical Christian customers, not to mention the fact that gay and Christian are not mutually exclusive categories.

He went on: "We don't have the right to force a Jewish rabbi to conduct a Christian wedding ceremony. We don't have the right to force a Muslim imam to conduct a Jewish wedding ceremony."

No, we don't, because of the constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion -- but these examples apply to religious ceremonies, far different from the operations of secular, for-profit businesses.

Cruz's campaign has also just released a video featuring people supposedly persecuted for their religious beliefs against marriage equality. Among them are Sweet Cakes by Melissa owners Aaron and Melissa Klein, found guilty of violating Oregon antidiscrimination law by refusing to provide a cake for the wedding of two women. They speak of closing their business, but actually, they still operate it, just from their home. And they face a $135,000 fine, but they have raised much more than that through crowdfunding. The family business is apparently doing so well that the Kleins sent out free cakes to 10 LGBT organizations this week, along with a note reading "We do really love you," and a copy of an antigay Christian film.

The ad also includes former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran, who says he was fired for his religious beliefs about homosexuality. Actually, he was fired specifically for publishing them in a book, which also contained derogatory statements about women and Jews, without getting the permission of his superiors. Cochran also reportedly distributed the book to his employees at the Fire Department, including those who did not request it.

Another figure appearing in the ad is Phillip Monk, a former senior master sergeant in the Air Force, who likewise says he was discharged because of his religious belief that homosexuality is wrong. Monk, however, had refused to discipline a subordinate who was preaching antigay dogma to trainees, in violation of Air Force policy, which prohibits using one's position of authority to promote personal religious beliefs.

At Friday's rally, Cruz's Iowa state campaign chairman, Matt Schultz, introduced Cruz as God's candidate and compared the politician to no less than Jesus Christ, according to The Dallas Morning News. "We need someone who will go to Washington and throw the money-changers out," he said, referring to Jesus's action in throwing financiers out of a temple. "God raises special men and women to protect his people, and I believe this is one of those moments in time. ... Ted Cruz is that man who God has prepared for this moment in time."

For his part, Cruz made "no such public claim to divine support," the Morning News reports, but "denounced 'religious bigotry and intolerance' and asserted that people of faith are being bullied."

"It's not enough for these advocates to tear down marriage," Cruz said at the rally. "Now the Washington elites want to silence those who believe in the biblical definition of marriage. Their goal is to keep people of faith from being able to live by the dictates of their conscience."

Below, watch Cruz's Newsmax TV interview, courtesy of Right Wing Watch, and the "persecution" spot, courtesy of Towleroad.

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